ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has devised a strategy for upcoming Senate elections with a main focus on countering the expected horse-trading.

A huddle of senior party leaders under the chair of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday discussed the overall political situation in the country and devised the strategy for upcoming Senate elections to look at the much-feared horse-trading in the polls.

Sources aware of the deliberations said that the party denounced the alleged role of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians President Asif Ali Zardari in toppling the Balochistan government and his plan to steal the mandate of majority parties in upcoming Senate elections by luring the dissidents in parties to get his men elected.

The huddle reviewed ground realities and tasked the party leaders in the provinces to calm down the annoyed party MPs to keep them in the loop to avoid massive defection.

The sources further said that the option of contesting the upcoming elections in alliance with other like-minded parties in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan also came under discussion.

The sources told The Nation that committees comprising senior party leaders were constituted to contest the Senate elections in an organized way and to frustrate the attempts to be made by certain quarters to dent the mandate of the majority parties.

A committee comprising Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir, Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch and Afzal Mandokhel was formed for Balochistan and a committee consisted of Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan, Engineer Amir Muqam and Abbas Afridi was formed for KP.

The responsibility to take care of things in Punjab would be taken by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. As the party would not be in a race in Sindh, no committee was formed for the province.

Later, briefing the media about the deliberations, Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahid Ullah Khan, who is also central information secretary of the party, criticised the role of Zardari in Balochistan where, according to him, he disgraced the public mandate with the use of money.

He said that by deviating from the path of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, “Zardari has engaged in a dirty game of horse-trading which would only harm parliamentary democracy in the country”.

Khan said that they would frustrate the design of Zardari in the upcoming elections and would not let him play with the mandate of major parties through horse-trading and other ugly tactics.

Answering a question about Zardari eying for the coveted slot of the Senate chairman, the PML-N leader said that when the time for the polling for the chairman will come, people would see the results themselves and Zardari could only dream of it.

He said that the meeting also reviewed the progress on cases against the Sharif family in the NAB court, upcoming Senate elections, working relationship with coalition partners and the possibility of forming future electoral alliances with like-minded parties.

To a question, Khan said that Zardari’s role in Balochistan had weakened the parliamentary democracy and made it clear that the people of Balochistan were not a sellable commodity as they had given matchless sacrifices for establishing a democratic order in the country.

He said that the holding of Senate elections as per the schedule and the role of the PML-N and other democratic parties would definitely strengthen the parliamentary democracy in the country.

To a question, he said that Nawaz Sharif would be leaving for Karachi tomorrow while he would continue his mass contact campaign and would soon be visiting Chitral and Muzzafarabad.